More than a hundred years ago, on an island on the other side of the world called Japan, there lived a boy whose name was Jigoro Kano. He wasn't very big, and sometimes he was pushed around by other bigger and stronger boys in his school and in the street.
So, when got a bit older, he thought - and Jigoro was a very intelligent boy:- "there must be something I can do, even though those boys are bigger than me."Now, not far from where he lived in Tokyo, the capital of Japan, there was a building with a big room. It was called a dojo. As he walked past, he could see people throwing each other over there shoulders. Very often, he noticed that it was the smaller people who where doing the throwing.
This was Ju Jitsu which in English means gentle art. It didn’t look gentle to him, but when he tried it, he found he could do it. He was able to throw boys quite a bit older and bigger than him.
He started to go once a week, then twice and then three times and then nearly every day of the week.
He learnt many things. He learnt how to throw his friends to the left and to the right and even over the top.
He learnt how to hold them on the ground so hard that all they could do was wriggling there their toes.
But this Ju Jitsu was hard and a little dangerous- after all, Ju Jitsu had been used by the samurai, the warriors of Japan, for hundreds of years.
He got many bruises and a few of his friends were injured. So after a few years, and after he got his black belt, He decided to start his own sport witch would be much safer, but still great fun. He called it judo, witch means the gentle way, and he called his club the kodokan.
The first thing his pupils had to do was to learn how to land safely when they were thrown- even when they were thrown by a very tall man and when they were throwing each other. Jigoro Kano said they had to do it well and not hurt each other.
He said it was very important to be polite. Before and after each practice, the pupils had to bow to each other.
Judo became very popular very quickly. But first of all, it was popular in Japan. But Jigoro who was called sensei (it means teacher in Japanese) travelled right across the world to teach people his judo.
He didn’t only teach adults but boys and girls as well. So not only did English children, French children and American children learn this new sport, but they even learned some Japanese words: The names of Japanese throws and holds.
For example, they called the body drop throw ‘Tai-Otoshi’ and scarf hold ‘Kesa Gatame’. In 1964, judo was seen in the Olympic Games for the first time, and now it is one of the most popular sports in the Olympic Games.
And all because of one small boy in Japan was pushed around by bullies.